There has been an increase in the number of libel cases brought by firms in the UK, new figures suggest.
According to legal publisher Sweet & Maxwell, total reported libel actions brought by companies rose almost threefold in the year to May compared with the previous 12-month period.
The organisation suggested that there was a 32 per cent increase in such cases during this time.
In addition, online publishers were said to be at risk of libel actions, with the number of cases brought against such organisations increasing from three to eight.
According to Sweet & Maxwell, the economic downturn is thought to have played a role in the trend, with companies especially sensitive to suggestions that they may be in financial difficulties.
With a history dating back around 200 years, Sweet & Maxwell is a provider of information, interpretation and commentary on legal issues. It produces a variety of publications, including books, journals, periodicals and leaflets, as well as online services.